Caleb vaxmonsky states

SD coaches pleased with season overall as athletes bring home many awards

(Feb. 28, 2020) Eight girls and four boys from Stephen Decatur competed in the 3A-2A-1A state swimming championship, last Saturday at Eppley Recreation Center on the University of Maryland College Park campus.

Junior Caleb Vaxmonsky turned in the best performance, placing third in the 100-yard backstroke event (53.9 seconds) and fifth in the 500-yard freestyle (4:48.38).

Vaxmonsky earned a spot on the podium and a medal for his third-place finish.

A week earlier, Vaxmonsky won regional titles in the 100-yard backstroke and 500-yard freestyle. He broke his own regional record, set in 2019, with his time this year.

He is a two-time regional champion in the 500.

In addition, Vaxmonsky took home Bayside Conference championship awards in the 200IM and 500-yard freestyle this year. His times also broke conference records.

Freshman Gavin Stearn placed fifth in the 200-yard IM (2:04.75) and eighth in the 100-yard freestyle (50.67 seconds) at states.

He is a Bayside titleholder in the 100-yard freestyle.

Senior captain Richard Poist came in ninth place in the 50-yard freestyle (23.19 seconds) and 11th in the 100-yard butterfly (57.68 seconds).

Poist is the regional champion in the 50-yard freestyle.

Junior Jack Slaysman came in 13th in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:05.47) at states.

Vaxmonsky, Poist, Slaysman and Stearn took sixth at states in the 400-yard freestyle relay race (3:28.39).

The team is Bayside champs in the event and their time is a new conference record.

The top 16 finishers in each race earned points for their respective schools.

The Decatur boys’ team finished in ninth place overall with 100 points. The girls’ squad placed 19th, scoring 30 points.

Freshman Natalie Canham came in 12th place in both the 200-yard freestyle (2:10.14) and 100-yard backstroke (1:05.49).

She is a Bayside champion in the 100-yard backstroke.

Canham, sophomores Gracie Coker and Emma Sperry and freshman Kayden Hamby placed 11th in the 200-yard freestyle relay race at states (1:48.92).

Senior captains Mikayla Denault and Kylie Hamby, freshman Katelyn Pizlo and Kayden Hamby came in 14th in the 400-yard freestyle relay race (4:12.89).

Canham, Denault, Sperry and Coker finished in 16th place in the 200-yard medley relay race (2:04.9).

Decatur coaches Steve Deakyne and Kristina Watts were happy overall with the swimmers’ performances at states.

“States went well. We has some really good swims,” Deakyne said. “Only four boys competed and we still got ninth, which is really good.”

“Most of the girls got best times,” Watts said. “I was pretty pleased with the girls.”

The boys’ team finished the season with a 6-3 record. The squad came in second place in both the Bayside Conference and regional championship meets.

“It was a great season. We had a small team overall,” Deakyne said. “It was a small, but mighty group this year. I was proud of how they did this year.”

The team will only graduate one swimmers – Poist.

“He’s an excellent swimmer who contributed a lot of points,” Deakyne said.

With only one swimmer graduating, Deakyne said the team should be strong next year. He is hoping some boys who are currently in eighth grade try out as freshmen next season.

“We’re hoping to build our numbers back up again,” he said.

Deakyne presented the team MVP Award to Poist. Stearn earned the Rookie of the Year award. The Coaches Award went to junior Patrick O’Halloran and the Sportsmanship Award to sophomore Luke Bahlman.

Junior Adison Hommel was presented the Most Improved Award.

All-Bayside Conference awards went to O’Halloran and Poist.

The girls’ team finished the season with a 7-2 record. The squad took third in both the Bayside Conference and regional meets.

“I am very pleased with the whole season,” Watts said.

Going into her first season coaching the team, Watts said she wasn’t sure what to expect.

“They girls really surprised me, in a good way,” she said. “My first season was pretty successful. I really enjoyed it. They were a really close-knit group. They grew as people and as swimmers, especially the younger girls.”

The team will graduate four swimmers, two of whom – Denault and Hamby – scored many points this year and competed in the state meet.

Many of the underclassmen excelled this year, so Watts expects the team to be strong next season. She is also looking forward to some incoming freshmen joining the squad.

“Our powerhouse is our younger swimmers,” Watts said.

She presented the team MVP Award to Canham. Sperry earned the Rookie of the Year Award and Denault took home the Sportsmanship Award.

The Most Improved Award went to junior Grace Watson. Watts gave the Coaches Award to senior captain Zehra Mirza.

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